My Department’s Multi-Annual Rural Water Programme 2016-2018 included funding for six group sewerage schemes as demonstration or pilot projects for connection to the Irish Water waste water network, where clustering of households on individual septic tanks was not a viable option, particularly from an environment perspective.
An Expert Panel was convened by my Department to examine the 2016 bids from local authorities for support under the Programme and to make recommendations on approvals and funding allocations. The Panel recommended supporting six demonstration projects under measure 4(d) relating to group sewerage schemes.
The six demonstration projects selected consisted of two in Leitrim and one each in Clare, Kerry, Monaghan and Wexford. It was envisaged that the demonstration projects would be completed over the course of the programme. I understand that for various planning and organisational reasons outside the control of my Department and the local authorities none of these demonstrations were completed.
As a result, the Expert Panel were unable to evaluate them. However, the Panel recommended a further six community wastewater connection schemes as demonstration projects for the 2019-2021 funding cycle. I accepted the Panel's recommendations when announcing approvals and funding allocations for the current programme in October. The demonstration projects approved under the 2016-2018 multi-annual programme will continue to be eligible for funding to proceed to completion under the 2019-2021 cycle.
Under the programme grants for these demonstration projects of up to 75% of cost are available subject to a maximum grant of €6,750 per house (this means that the effective cost limit per house for the project is €9,000). A supplementary grant in excess of these limits is only considered in exceptional circumstances where full justification is provided.
All of the demonstration projects consist of extensions to the existing public collection network in their areas - they do not involve any waste water treatment facilities.